By Josh Farmer, IndyCar Reporter
Jay Howard will make his return to the Verizon IndyCar Series in the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 Presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
The Britton, who has started 12 IndyCar races, will drive the No. 77 Team One Cure foundation Honda, which is also supported by NASCAR and IndyCar veteran Tony Stewart.
“I can’t begin to tell you how honored I am to have this opportunity,” Howard said. “I’m not one to give up on a dream and I have every bit of determination to make this a successful effort for Tony, Team One Cure and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. I’m in the best condition both mentally and physically, and my race craft is on point. We will be more than ready when IMS opens for practice this May.”
Howard shares the same passion for animals and children as team co-owner Tony Stewart. That made him a natural driver choice for Stewart.
“I have every bit of confidence in the skills of Jay behind the wheel,” Stewart added. “Growing up 45 minutes from the Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 is an important part of my racing history. Participating in this year’s race with Jay and Sam through Team One Cure, we will be making a difference in both the 500 and the race against cancer.”
The 2006 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire champion finished 30th in his lone 500 appearance in 2011, driving in a joint Rahal Letterman Lanigan/Schmidt entry. His last official IndyCar start came at Texas Motor Speedway a week later, where he finished 20th. He also raced in the season finale at Las Vegas, but that race was ultimately canceled after the death of Dan Wheldon.
Howard won his Indy Lights championship on the strength of two wins while driving for Schmidt. That has team co-owner Sam Schmidt feeling confident about their chances come May.
“We are pleased to have Jay competing with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports once again,” Schmidt sais. “Given our impressive winning record together in the past, we have high expectations for the 101st Indy 500. Jay is extremely talented in the car as well as being a great advocate for the Team One Cure initiative.”
Outside of the cockpit, Howard has worked as a driver coach and team owner in the US Formula 4 championship.